Marvel has a new habit of taking indie directors and elevating them to mainstream status. This is the case with the team behind the latest MCU entry, Captain Marvel. Co-writers and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have been a team for over 15 years now, and their latest project shows that they are a well-oiled machine. Here’s what you need to know about the duo, their relationship, and their past projects.
Their first feature together was Half-Nelson
As the story goes, Boden and Fleck met in 2002, while she was completing her film degree at Columbia and shortly after he had received his from NYU. They quickly realized that they worked well together, and the rest is history.
They collaborated on the 2006 film Half Nelson, with Fleck serving as director and Boden editing and co-producing. Ryan Gosling, fresh off the success of The Notebook, was their star, and he earned an Oscar nomination for the role, giving Boden and Fleck a little more recognition in the industry.
Boden and Fleck co-directed Sugar
Their first project in which they served as co-directors was Sugar, a 2008 sports drama about a Dominican baseball player who comes to the U.S. to join the minor leagues. The film earned critical praise and the directing pair were deemed neo-neorealists given the documentary-like nature of Sugar.
They broke up before the filming of this well-received indie
Many writing and directing partnerships stem from personal relationships, like siblings (such as the MCU’s own Russo brothers) or married couples like Jackie and Jeff Filgo (That ‘70s Show). Though they are very private when it comes to their personal lives, an LA Times article from 2010 discussing their film It’s Kind of a Funny Story states that Boden and Fleck had broken up prior to filming. Regardless, they continued to work together without obvious issues.
They worked with Ben Mendelsohn on Mississippi Grind
Skrull leader Talos was portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn in Captain Marvel. Boden and Fleck, who had nothing but nice things to say about him, had previously worked with the Australian actor on the film Mississippi Grind, in which he starred alongside another actor who is now a Marvel superhero, Ryan Reynolds.
While doing press for the film in Jan. 2015, it was noted that Boden was nearing the end of her pregnancy. She gave birth to a son, Felix, in March 2015, and from his Instagram account, it appears as though the child could be Fleck’s.
Boden and Fleck fought hard for Captain Marvel
Despite their past successes, it wasn’t easy for Boden and Fleck to land Captain Marvel. “We knew a little bit about Carol Danvers, but we certainly hadn’t read all the comics and didn’t know all her history,” Boden said to IndieWire of digging into the material. “But before we started taking the meetings, we read thousands of pages, to try to find what would be our way in, because even though we liked the character and we liked the idea of Brie [Larson in the role], we needed to make sure that we had our way in.”
“It’s their body of work and it’s their focus on character, and our belief that they wouldn’t have lost the character amongst the spectacle and the fun and the effects,” Marvel head honcho Feige said of his decision to give them the job. “It was those early meetings and their amazing body of work that made us realize they could bring Carol to life.” Now that the film has done so well, the team will likely have their pick of projects to choose from down the line.